It’s hard to believe it’s finally here: the tournament of tournaments, the World Cup of World Cups, the 2014 Copa do Mundo. I can hardly contain myself, even though I was shamed by mother for *gasp* forgetting that this Thursday is the big day. That’s right, Brazil v. Croatia opening up the games. As a constant pessimist I’ve been dreading the idea that Brazil could lose at home for the past few months. I know this much is true: this summer will be anything but relaxing. Hence this post. Because what’s a girl to do to get her heart to slow down to a human pace? Cachaça. Limes. Sugar. Sure, it’s often a recipe for a headache, but if you do it right – and this long summer you must – it’ll put you in just the right spot to either cope or celebrate.
The recipe is simple, so ingredient quality here is key. The headaches often associated with caipirinhas can in large part be traced back to a cheap, sugary cachaça. My first piece of advice is that you spend a little more dough on a higher quality cachaça. Here in the US, the Leblon brand is pretty easy to find and will fit the bill nicely. My second bit of advice actually comes from famed Brazilian chef Alex Atala. Most caipirinha recipes call for using granulated sugar and mashing it with limes in the glass you plan on sipping from, but Chef Atala advocates the use of a simple syrup. Instead of a sugary slur at the bottom of your glass, you have sugar that’s fully incorporated with the liquor, which allows you to really control the sweetness of the drink. Final tip, and one every expert (read: Brazilian) will tell you, is to cut out the white pith from the center of the lime. So here it is, for our trusty readers, the new and improved caipirinha for all your 2014 World Cup viewings:
1 ripe lime (halved, white pith in the center of lime removed)
1 1/2 shots of cachaça
1/2 shot of simple syrup
Cut the lime in thin slices and place in a tumbler. Smash the lime with a muddler (chef Atala recommends 4 mashes, but I go for more because I like my drinks tart). Add the cachaça, simple syrup, and a scoopful of ice, and stir. That’s it folks! Just sit back and enjoy – or drink standing while your heart’s racing and your team’s in the box on the verge of scoring a goal…
PS: There’s a whole wide world out there of fruity caipirinhas that I will leave for you to discover – the trick is to just replace some or all of the lime with the fruit of your choice. The possibilities are endless.